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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

”Somali style” pirates off Nigeria, “Chinese reports on fishing volumes wrong” and the Canadian Navy planes for taking control of their long north coast

We all know that shipping and the oceans must be seen in a global context, our national borders don’t matter much. If a nation isn’t able to control its waters others will use them to their will. As we have seen and are seeing out of Somalia in terms of pirates. The pirates of Somalia led to an unprecedented international engagement (and the political reasons for that can of course be debated).

It is unlikely that the type of international focus that today is put off Somalia will be applied to more than one place at the time and even that is probably wishful thinking. The rise of piracy off western Africa is therefore extra troublesome as the international focus still is on pirates out of Somalia (see also post from November 26, 2012 Better times off Somalia, but tougher for the decision maker!). The piracy off western Africa has its own specific traits (with a higher focus on the cargo rather than the crew and ship), but now there are also reports on “Somali style” piracy with the intent to keep the crew (and ship) for ransom (for example the reports about the tanker MT Matrix I). This could lead to a faster increase in incidents and a need for new security measures, but still with completely different conditions as compared to piracy off Somalia. One reason for the difference is that the national control of the waters off western Africa is far better than the control off Somalia.
Control of waters is however difficult as can be seen in the news on were the Chinese fishing fleet actually catches the fish (see for example Chinese fishing fleet in African waters reports 9% of catch to UN). This is of course a very important question in regards to natural resources and not primarily a maritime security issue. But fishing disputes lead to maritime risks and also affects relations between nations. There is therefore probably a need for better control of the waters off eastern Africa; especially I imagine several African nations wanting a bigger piece of the fishing off their own coast.
But also elsewhere nations are putting in extra effort to take better control of their waters. I have earlier written about Russia and their interest for their arctic waters, but also Canada is preparing for new Artic challenges and to take control of their northern coast as the reduction of the ice makes the waters feasible to visit (at least part of the year). Canada is commissioning new naval vessels specifically for this purpose and I imagine they want to make sure that they secure control of their waters before anyone else does it.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Quantitative risk analysis – Ship security analysis for effective risk control options

This study reviews ship security assessment. The objectives are to explore the possibilities for quantifying and performing a more thorough ship security risk analysis than that described in the International Ship and Port Facility Security code and to evaluate to what extent this more detailed analysis increases ship security and facilitate the effective selection of risk control options.
The study focuses on Somali-based maritime piracy, using piracy on the Indian Ocean as a case study. Data are collected using questionnaires and interviews with civilian and military security experts who possess firsthand experience of piracy off the coast of Somalia. The data are collected specifically for this study and describe and quantify the threat’s capability, intent and likelihood of exploiting a ship’s vulnerability. Based on the collected description of the threat, the study analyzes and describes: probability of detection by pirates, probability of successful approach, and probability of successful boarding.
The performed work shows good agreement between calculated probabilities and frequencies in the cited incident reports. Also, the developed scenarios describe the most important influences on the analyzed areas. The research therefore shows that the proposed risk-based approach, which uses structurally collected and documented information on the threat, can increase ship security by assisting in selecting risk control options. The approach also allows for a better understanding of the causal relationship between threat and risk than that provided in today’s security analysis by ship owners, for example. This understanding is crucial to choosing effective and robust risk control options.
Hans Liwång, Chalmers University of Technology and the Swedish National Defence College
Jonas W. Ringsberg, Chalmers University of Technology
Martin Norsell, Swedish National Defence College
The article is published in Safety Science Vol 58 pages 98-112 2013. See more (including fulltext) here.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ship security analysis - the effect of ship speed and effective lookout

The threat of piracy to commercial shipping is a concern for the protection and safeguarding of human lives, property and environment. Therefore, ships under piracy threat should follow security measures suggested by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somali. It is, therefore, important to choose the proper security measures for the right situation.
This study presents a simulation model that can be used for probabilistic risk assessments regarding the operation of commercial ships. This investigation specifically studies the pirate approach phase and quantifies the effect of ship speed and effective lookout. The purpose of introducing probabilistic risk assessment into the analysis of pirate attacks is to meet safety goals more effectively through a well-balanced combination of proactive and reactive measures whilst keeping focus on the intended over all purpose of the particular ship.
The study presents collected and documented knowledge regarding pirate capability, intention and likelihood to perform attacks. The knowledge is collected from experts with experience from the situation off the Horn of Africa. The collected information is input to an influence analysis that identifies the network of influences that govern the skiff approach. The simulation model describes piracy characteristics and decision making on the threatened ship, the characteristics and countermeasures of the ship under attack, as well as weather.
Based on a comparison with available statistics the overall conclusion of the work is that the threat analysis and the simulation model can quantify and explain how the studied risk control options affect the probability of a successful approach. The result therefore exemplifies how a quantified ship security analysis can support the recommendations in industry guidelines and also enable recommendations that to a greater extent can facilitate an educated decision by the ship operators.
Hans Liwång, Chalmers University of Technology and the Swedish National Defence College
Jonas W. Ringsberg, Chalmers University of Technology
The study is presented at the 32nd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE2013) in Nantes, June 9-14 2013, Session: 2-44 Risk Analysis and Safety Management 3.